'I'm not OK': First responders learn to embrace help for mental health during symposium in California

  • Source: Bakersfield.com
  • Published: 10/23/2019 12:00 AM

When a medical call came in on June 24, 2015, to assist an intoxicated man at a trolley station, San Diego firefighter Ben Vernon thought it would be a routine situation. He had been on this type of call several times in the past, so he was not too worried. Arriving on the scene, however, tensions started to rise between a bystander and several security guards, and a fight broke out. Within minutes Vernon's entire life changed — and flashed before his eyes. "I was not in fight mode, and that I will forever regret. My thought was I need to save the security guard," Vernon explained to a room full of more than 300 local firefighters, law enforcement officials, emergency medical technicians and other first responders. "I jump over the railing and as (the bystander) hauls back to punch him, I capture his arm, block it, get my body between them and push him back."


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